After Olivier Giroud jumped across the capital to join Chelsea during January’s transfer deadline day for a fee which is said to be in the £15m bracket, Arsene Wenger has admitted the reason why Arsenal let the imposing striker leave the Emirates for a direct domestic rival.
Alexandre Lacazette, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penned a club-record deal at the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund, was predominantly favoured over Giroud meaning that the strapping target-man was used sparingly from the bench, but with ‘Auba’ heightening the competition for game time upon his arrival, it certainly seemed as though the 31-year-old’s days were numbered.
Wenger – subject to a report published by Football London – revealed all surrounding Giroud’s sensational exit, a mid-season switch which ended his fruitful 5-and-a-half year stint at Arsenal, where he won 3 FA Cup medals under ‘Le Prof’s’ studied command.
“Olivier was massively popular inside the dressing room and club. But he wanted more playing time, he has not played many Premier League games and he wants to go to the World Cup as well, that’s why I opened the door when Aubameyang came in to give him a chance to get the competition he deserves.” He said
“Ideally you want him to go to clubs who do not compete with you, but on the other hand it was a bit linked to the Aubameyang deal and he’s just had a third baby so it was very difficult on the family side to leave London.”
Giroud, like he was at his former employers, will become a pivotal part of Antonio Conte’s set-up and will directly challenge Alvaro Morata, who is currently struggling through hampering injury woes, for the main offensive spot up top.
A fresh start at Stamford Bridge could prove to be a catalyst for success for Giroud, however Wenger, who is still evidently a great admirer of his fellow countryman, proceeded to insist that selling the attacker to such a ‘competitive club’ in Chelsea was an exceedingly ‘difficult’ decision to make.
“And I believe we owe Olivier Giroud a lot for his commitment, his dedication to the club and his love for the club was absolutely exceptional. So it was difficult to turn it down because it was a competitive club.”
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